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CORRECTED: America's Cup teams on board despite fatal accident

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

America's Cup officials said Tuesday the premier yacht race is on course to take place as planned despite the death of a veteran sailor from the Swedish team during training last week.

All four teams slated to duel on San Francisco Bay in powerful AC72 boats remain on board for a competition that begins in July with Louis Vuitton Cup matches, which will decide who takes on the champion Oracle crew in September.

"The America's Cup will go ahead this summer," the Cup's external affairs director Tom Ehman said during a press briefing at Pier 27 in San Francisco.

"We will see the world's best sailors racing at the highest level on the iconic San Francisco Bay."

Cup officials met with leaders of each of the four teams early on Tuesday to brief them on the make-up of a committee formed to look into the fatal accident and ways to make the 34th America's Cup safer, according to Ehman.

"There was not even a thought given this morning to doing anything but continuing apace," Ehman said of the meeting.

The review team roster included regatta director Iain Murray; Vincent Lauriot-Prevost of French multi-hull design firm Van Peteghem Lauriot Prevost; New Zealand Queens Counsel lawyer Jim Farmer, and veteran sailor John Craig.

The committee was to commence its work on Thursday after Provost and Farmer arrive in the United States, according to Murray.

"There has been a lot of sailing of AC72 yachts around the world, many hours, and there has been a huge amount of success with that," Murray said.

"These boats have exceeded all expectations and part of that is for us to review and understand and comment on how we manage this incredible speed and dynamics these boats have."

The review team will work with US Coast Guard and San Francisco police who are investigating the capsizing last week that killed a member of Artemis Racing of Sweden.

Artemis Racing member Andrew Simpson, nicknamed "Bart," died when the Swedish team's AC72 overturned while training on San Francisco Bay on Thursday.

The accident fueled concerns over the safety of the 72-foot America's Cup catamarans.

Murray said the review process will include getting safety recommendations from Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa, and defending US champions Oracle.

The sailing teams have taken a week off training out of respect for the loss and were expected to return to the Bay on Thursday.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130514/corrected-americas-cup-teams-board-despite-fatal-accident